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Building a Studio
Old 31st January 2008
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Building a studio with a low ceiling.

My first post on here :D

Just getting started with constructing my basement studio and I need some advice.

The ceiling is gonna be 6'3 1/2 after a drop ceiling and a sub floor is put in. The clearance where the beams are is gonna be 5'9 1/2... So it's gonna be interesting! This is if the drop ceiling is touching the floor joists... Would you think packing the joists with spray foam insulation and covering them with fabric be just as effective absorption and sound proofing wise? The joists are spaced around 2 feet apart and 7" deep. The floor on top of the joists looks like it's got 1" thick boards covered with 1/2" plywood and 1/4" thick laminate flooring on top.

Also trying to figure out if there would be a significant amount of sound transmission through to the floor above if the wall studs connect with the floor joists. Think it would be enough to worry about?

Here's the floor plan. Each square measures a foot.
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Old 1st February 2008
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Doublehelix's Avatar
 

Your ceilings are going to be too low, and will not pass inspection. They are out of compliance, and could cause you problems. If you do not do an inspection, the entire area will not be covered by your homeowner's insurance, and would represent a total loss due to fire, flood, tornado, etc. Plus, if someone gets injured down there, you will lose your shirt.

You are going to get lots of noise into the above floor if the wall studs are attached to the floor joists above. The sound will travel by flanking, and you will get lots of sound transmission... more than you would guess actually! If you can, make the walls free-standing so that they do not touch the ceiling joists. If not, then understand your limitations, and be prepared for lots of noise transfer.

Staggered stud walls are "ok", but from what I have heard (read) they are not much better than single stud walls, and are a lot more work and cost. I have no personal experience here, but this is what I was told when I did my build-out. I went with isolated double walls, and a room-within-a-room design.

Also, what are you thinking about HVAC? This is a huge issue, including fresh air returns, both to meet spec, and to provide comfort and fresh air to the talent. It will become very uncomfortable without it! Folks get cranky without oxygen! If you are planning in tying into your existing house HVAC system, sound will travel through there as well. You can build silencers into your basement ductwork, but these are not 100% effective, and are difficult to build.

The best way to stop sound transmission is mass, mass, and more mass!!! The fluffy insulation will help a bit, but you might want to consider putting drywall between the floor joists, attached to the upstairs ceiling, sealing around the edges with acoustic caulk. Several layers will be required to really help stop sound transmission (in addition to insulation). BE CAREFUL HERE HOWEVER!!! I cannot stress this enough! Your structure might not be able to handle the additional weight of the drywall (it is heavy stuff), and your whole house could come tumbling down!!! You can get a structural engineer out to check this out for your about US$100 or so, and he/she can tell you if your existing structure can withstand the additional weight. It is money WELL-SPENT!!!

Good luck! Remember, a good plan will save a lot of headaches later on.
Old 4th February 2008
  #3
Gear Nut
 

Not too much I can do about the height of the ceiling since the house is around 50 years old. Prob a few things about old houses that aren't up to code and can still be insured. So I'll build it and see haha. Already got a good start on construction anyways... I'm thinking when I eventually add onto the house I'll build another studio there and the old space would turn into storage/jam space. Maybe I could make everyone sign an insurance waiver if I can't get it approved... lol.

I'll try to make the walls in the tracking room freestanding since that's where a lot of the loudest noise will be. Gonna be a bit of a challenge to engineer them that way but probably doable. I'll have double walls to separate the vocal booth, control room, tracking room, storage room (I have a roommate that plays drums and probably will have his kit in there), and guitar amp room from each other. Don't really care much about the bathroom. Just wanna have it decently isolated so sounds like toilet flushes/the shower don't bleed. Might be easier to throw up double walls made with 2x2's instead of 2x4's at the places I was gonna put staggered studded walls up.

Haven't looked into HVAC. I would only really need it for the tracking room since it has no window and maybe the amp room. Are they pricey?

I'm considering filling up the ceiling and partitions with Icynene Spray Foam Insulation & Air Barrier System. Don't need it to be absolutely silent on the main floor. But enough to keep the sound leakage at a decent level. The bedrooms are on the 2nd storey and the only 2 rooms on top of the tracking room on the main floor are the kitchen and my bedroom. The living room is on top of the control room, amp room and vocal booth. So it shouldn't be too loud upstairs since guitar amps and vocals are mostly mids and highs, and I'll be using a pair of KRK RP 6's as monitors.
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